Amanda Boxtel in an Ekso-Suit made using 3D Systems' technology.
3D printing technology from 3D Systems has enabled a woman who was paralysed more than two decades ago to walk tall in a bespoke exoskeleton.
Bridging Bionics Foundation Executive Director Amanda Boxtel has been paralysed since February 1992, when she had a serious accident downhill skiing. The pain and her struggle with paralysis is a story she has been willing to share around the world and serves to inspire others like her that hope and belief in technology can restore some of what has been lost.
This week (February 19th), Boxtel revealed that she is making history by walking tall in the first ever 3D-printed Ekso-Suit, made to fit her own body using 3D Systems' 3D printing and 3D scanning technology.
The suit was made by 3D Systems' designers who used 3D scanning to digitise the contours of her legs and spine to make a personalised 3D base to inform the shape of the required assemblies.
Complex mechanical actuators and controls, manufactured by Ekso Bionics were later integrated with more fluid components being printed from the customised 3D scans to create the first ever bespoke suit of its kind.
"After years of dreaming about it, I am deeply grateful and thrilled to be making history … in the first ever 3D-printed Ekso-Suit," she said. "This project represents the triumph of human creativity and technology that converged to restore my authentic functionality in a stunningly beautiful, fashionable and organic design."
President and CEO of 3D Systems Avi Reichental said: "I believe that the most beautiful and functional designs have already been patented by nature, and inspired by Amanda's incredible spirit, we were able to harness nature's beauty with 3D printed functionality and freedom of creation to allow her body and spirit to soar. 3D Systems has long been a pioneer in patient-specific devices, integrating our cutting-edge 3D capabilities with robotics to better serve humanity opens new and unimaginable frontiers."
3D Systems' patient-specific devices currently serve a growing field of medical applications to improve surgical outcomes and quality care. These include reoperative surgery, surgical drill and saw guides, dentistry and orthodontics.